Talking on the Town

There is this thing called “Real Life” that gets in the way of what writers do for either a living or for free.  That was pretty much me yesterday, as I spent most of my time out on the road until about seven PM, at which point I was completely out of it in terms of having creative juice left to stir.

First off, I walked into work in a pair of shoes I shouldn’t have.  This means I was in pain by the time I got there, because of really large blisters on my heels.  Which I popped at work, which came back as I walked home.  Which means by the time I treated them at the apartment before heading off for my appointment means I was in a lot of pain and having trouble walking.  Like I am this morning.  They’re sort and tender and . . . yeah, you get the idea.

But I have good news on the medical front.  My prolactin count has peaked–that’s one of the new hormones I’ve got stored inside my body–so no need for an MRI, my blood pressure was down about twenty points, and “the girls”, as the doctor calls them, are still growing and firming up nicely.  It’s good news all around.

The drive out to see my doctor is long; the drive back, longer.  Which means by the time I reached The Burg I was pretty burned out as far as getting anything done was concerned, and I didn’t get into the novel until after eight PM.  Closer to eight-thirty, actually.  I didn’t feel much like writing, but I wanted to keep going as I’ve been going because, well, writing.  You want to get back into that grove, that rhythm, that pops up when you’re starting a project.  You get to writing, not making excusing.

I managed a little over five hundred and eighty words, and here they are:  my kids back together again.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

After lunch the urge existed to find things to do, but as Annie said, “We have plenty of time in the future to sightsee—I’d rather be with you.” That was what happened: they left the Pret a Manger and headed to Russell Square park and wandered about there for a while before returning to the tube station and taking the Underground to Lancaster Gate, across Bayswater Road from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

They headed over to the Kensington Gardens side of the park and walked hand-in-hand. They walked south past the Italian Gardens and along the west side of the Long Water. They stopped at the Peter Pan statue and lingered there for close to twenty minute nearly alone. The cool, rainy weather kept people indoors, and there were few pedestrians to cast wondering glances at the young couple walking close together, their hands intertwined.

They deviated for the lake’s shore and headed inland, standing for a while inside the Queen’s Temple when a light rain began to fall. Kerry finally chose this moment to ask Annie about how she ended up coming to London for Lunch.

“She visited Sunday.” Annie leaned against the wall catty-corner from where Kerry stood. “My mother and her spoke for about two hours while I was out at the Lake House; Helena made a point of insisting they speak alone.” She set her hands behind her back and shook her head. “I should have realized she was planning something.”

“I watched your dad race Sunday.” Kerry had streamed the British Grand Prix from Silverstone that day.

“Yes, he came in fifth. I watched it later after he returned home.”

Kerry couldn’t imagine Annie sitting with her father watching a race, but he had no reason to believe she’d lie. “You think your mom and Helena were talking about lunch the other day?”

“I’m not sure. Mama said they talked about what I’ve done in sorcery and some of the thing Helena planed for our B Level, but that was probably just a small part of what they discussed.”

Kerry thought that was likely true as well. He couldn’t see why Helena would discuss sorcery with Annie’s mother and not have her present as well; it was completely unlike her. “I take it she showed up today?”

“Yes, right after lunch. She spoke with my mother for a few minutes, then came up to my room and said she was taking me to lunch, and told me I didn’t need to change my clothes, because where we were going the weather was similar, and that she’d return later.” She repositioned her hands before her. “So I only nibbled until she returned.”

He nodded. “Was your dad there?”

“Yes, he was.” Annie grinned. “He knows Helena by reputation, and was cordial to her. I think having three sorceresses in the house made him nervous.”

He almost laughed thinking about her father—whom he’d never met—trying to remain casual while Helena and Annie’s mother chatted before Annie joined them. He has to know just how great a sorceress she is by now. “Hope he wasn’t too scared.”

She looked down at the ground for a moment. “He survived the experience.” Annie reached out and took Kerry’s hand. “It’s turned to mist; I want to walk.” He followed, a large grin stretched across his face, as he loved walking in cool mist as well.

And he liked it even better walking along with Annie.

 

I should mention that I also spent about half an hour looking though Google Maps and checking out Underground routes just to get those first three paragraphs right.  I could have spent less time, I admit, but I was tired, and it was a nice diversion to keep the mind semi-sharp.  And I like maps.

And I snapped this right before I went to bed.  Resting Bitch Face is all you can muster after a long day.

And I snapped this right before I went to bed. Resting Bitch Face is all you can muster after a long day and you’re not wearing makeup.

What will today be like?  I’ll find out soon enough.

So will my kids.

Imaginary Journeys Past and Future

Back to work for a short time yesterday before heading out to get labs and dinner after almost twenty-four hours of fasting–a certainty that I’m back in The Burg and getting into my normal routine once more.  This also means that I’m back to the plotting and  planning and whatnot, and you’re right if you said I was up to something last night.

Most of the evening was taken up getting the last of the tour of Europe I’m sending my kids on in their future finished.  It wasn’t hard, believe me, because there were only three other cities to visit, with a stopover in Brno for a quick early lunch and a fast dart around the track before heading off to Vienna.

Who do you think won that race?  Wanna take bets?

Who do you think won that race? Wanna take bets?

It was a good thing I decided to plan out this trip, because it showed me where I could expand the stay overs to allow them their fifty days on the road.  It also allowed me to figure out where they were going to stay while roaming about Europe, and looking up hotels and imagining them waking up to see a Paris side street, or the historical square of Prague, or the blue Danube flowing past, was part of the entertainment that comes from putting stuff like this together.

Which is how I go from this--

Which is how I go from this–

To this.

To this.

And you should see the Junior Suites at the Hotel de L’Europe.  Oi.  Those kids got taste.

What does the whole trip look like?  A bit like this:

All through Europe, there and back again.

All through Europe, there and back again.

One of the last legs of this journey has them flying from Budapest to Sofia while following the course of the Danube for most of the way.  They end up spending about four hours in the air, their longest leg after the first.  Like with some of the other cities, staying in Sofia allows Annie the chance to show Kerry around the city and the country beyond.  It’ll also be a little comforting to her, to spend a few days in her home country before heading off for that lake house not far from her parent’s house.

And what happens after they arrive there?  I know what happens, but you’ll have to wait until I write the D Level novel to find out what goes down.  I’m just not telling you, at least not now.  All you need to know right now is that Kerry somehow ends up at Annie’s home in Pamporovo, he’s got his Espinoza, and he’s not afraid to use it.

But before I can get to D, I gotta get through B . . .

I checked my blog this morning and notice the countdown timer has changed–

I'm into days now!

I’m into days now!

Thirty days to go, and I wonder if when it gets down to less than a day if it’ll go to hours.  Doesn’t matter:  the time is set and it’s a go.  I will try to, at the least, finish the first scene, and perhaps the second and third as well.  The first scene starts off with Kerry back home, and then it goes from . . . there.  What happens next?

You’ll see in a month.

Travelogues and Time Lines

I know I said I was going to edit last night, but . . . I got off on a side track.  I know:  me?  Off on a side track?  Heavens forbid!

But that’s what happened.  I started thinking about one thing, then I flipped off to another, and before you know it I started working on this blasted future time line for my kids which started taking up nearly all my evening time.  As I’ve been told already, “You can’t leave those kids alone, can’t you?”

I would appear I can’t.

I found myself drawn back into working out this time line, because it’s something I need to finish now that I’ve started.  I get like that at times when I find myself unable to concentrate on what I should be doing, and end up doing something I want to do.  And this thing, this map and plan, are something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  So, in order to get my mind off things, I’m in it.  The editing won’t suffer, but I can’t do that every right, right?

Where am I now?  Well, how about here?

That's a lot of moving around for two 14 year olds.

That’s a lot of moving around for two 14 year old kids.

So far the stops are Rome, Florence, Milan, darling, Nice, Barcelona, and lastly Lyon.  That’s where I ended, with them arriving in Lyon, where they’ll take a short jaunt to the west to visit Deanna before heading on to Paris.  It’s all flying until they get to the stretch between Barcelona and Lyon, where I put them on a train running from Barcelona to Montpelier, France, where they pick up the TGV that takes them into Lyon.  Why go that way?  Because Kerry wants to ride the TGV, and Annie’s curious about what it’s like as well.  The fortunate part there is I’ve done that same route:  stayed in Barcelona for a few days, then traveled by train to Lyon and Paris.  So here I speak from a point of some experience.

Using the map as a guide, I’ve managed to work out my time line in better detail . . .

With cute names, too!

With cute names, too!

The bar at the bottom of the screen tells me I’m about a third of the way through the trip, but I know from experience that Paris is going to be a long stay, because the kids love Paris.  In their history they stayed there before heading off to their C Levels, and a fun time was had by all.  It was also the first time Annie and Kerry actually got to hang with a few of their covenmates outside the school, which made parts of the experience even better.  So it’s a fair bet I’ll have them there for a week to enjoy the city, and . . . well, something else happens, too.  Something important.

One last thing I got into yesterday was putting down, on the above time line, what hotels they’re using.  And just to let you know, these kids aren’t roughing it–Annie has money, remember?  Now, while they aren’t going five star all the way, they’re for sure not staying in any hostels.  Can you see these two staying in a dorm?  I can’t either.  It’s fortunate that the places they’re staying have a Foundation connection, otherwise someone might think it a bit strange that two kids dressed in leather pants and bomber jackets come in with nothing but backpacks and confirm their already paid reservation–

And yes:  they do get a discount when they show their Student IDs.

Charting New Paths Through Old Environments

One of the things I find I enjoy is being drawn to something I’ve done in the past, and discovering new ways to bring it out and bring it to life.  It’s not something I do because I’m just a nitpicker for detail, but more because I find that the detail helps me see how something should be laid out creatively.

For example, going through Kolor Ijo, I see in great detail how much my style has changed over the year.  I know if I went and started reading over Suggestive Amusements, it would probably look even more different.  Though I can remember some of the things I’ve written after that–just a couple of things–and I’m not sure if the style has changed that much, but I do realized that after writing through much of 2012, by the time 2013 rolled in I’d started developing a bit more as a writer, and for 2014–well, it goes without saying my style changed a great deal, because I spent all that year working on one piece, and I’d decided before I started writing I’d change up one thing–no “he said/she saids” to anchor dialogue–and I went through that whole project doing just that.

Now I’m onto something else.  I’ll get back to Kolor Ijo, but first . . . I’m going to let you in on some secrets . . .

I’ve posted this information once before, a while back, but in one of the future novels Annie and Kerry take off–I mean, literally, they take off and go around Europe on their own.  I mapped out the route a long time ago, and it looks a little like . . .

I think it looks like this.

I think it looks like this.

It looks like they are visiting a lot of places, and they actually are, but a lot of that trip is flying.  Now, back in late 2011, I figured out the time they spent flying, but frankly, I don’t want to go over that document again, and I’m guessing some of it is, shall we say, suspect?

However, if you have a map, and you know how to figure out time, well . . . why not time line this?

That’s what I started doing last night.  I thought I can not only track how long it takes to hit certain points, but I can track time on the ground as well, and even figure out how long they are in certain locals.  For example, lets look at the first leg of the trip.

Pretty simple, huh?

Pretty simple, huh?

This is how I lay things out.  First, I know how long they are on tour, which is the first line in sorta red.  It’s basically six weeks on the road and in the air, with points in between.  The purple lines are the checkpoints, the amount of time spent in the air between landings.  And the green are Annie and Kerry doing something, whether it’s chillin’, thinkin’, or having a holiday in Roma.  I can take the points above and affix them on the map–

Like this map.

Like this map.

And you can see, they first stop in Lushnje for an hour, then fly a short distance to the edge of the Adriatic Sea, then zoom across to Italy.  Once over dry land, they head for Naples, take a right at Vesuvius, and turn northwest towards Rome, where I have them sightseeing for two days, but I may change that up once I have the line more plotted out.

And there’s detail on these remarks as well:

Because I can't keep all this in my head.

Because I can’t keep all this in my head.

You can now see that they left Annie’s house at seven-thirty, and arrived in Rome a few minutes before five PM, or seventeen hours.  They covered 1079 kilometers, or 670.5 miles.  They were taking their time, because in other detail I have them flying about 140 kph, save for the leg where they flew over the ocean, and then they kicked it up a bit.  That’s the nice thing:  they can get a lot of speed out of their equipment, so if they’re in a real hurry, it’s like taking a jet to wherever they want to be next.

Yes, it’s a lot of detail, and it’s a bit of work, but once this is done I’ll have it close to me, and I can make adjustments to the line whenever I am in the mood.  Nothing is really written in stone, and if I want them looking around somewhere for a while, they can.  And I can even map out a few side trips they’ll take, such as when they’re in Milan and Barcelona, and add them to this mix.

There you are:  my little side project while I finish this–

I figured I'd forgotten about this novel.  You were wrong.

I figured I’d forgotten about this novel. You were wrong.

Four chapters to go, and I can probably get through two of them tonight, and leave the big one for tomorrow.  Not bad for just working on my own.

Das Finden der Berliner U-Bahn

Excused the poorly translated title today, but this is where I’m going.  And I need it today, believe me, after getting a bit of sticker shock yesterday from having my car worked on, and then getting into a rather epic editing session where I put away three chapters of Kolor Ijo, tuning up seventy-five hundred words and finishing off Part Two in the process.

But yesterday, my mind was mostly with my kids.

I’m back trying to work out the details of the next novel in my head and on the computer, and it’s usually coming at times when I should be doing other things, but dammit, those kids won’t leave me alone now.  They get that way, because they want to see the light of day again, damned witchy brats.

So I’m running the outline around in my head, and remembering things that came up when I laid out stuff the first time in Aeon Timeline.  Keep in mind that the first time I did a layout of this next novel, I had a bit of an overview:  there wasn’t nearly the same level of detail, so I’m in the process of laying that out.  And one of those areas that I’m laying out is where Annie and Kerry meet up while waiting to fly back to Boston and return to Salem.  It’s going to be a city in Europe, naturally, but where?

Well . . .

Achtung, baby

Achtung, baby.

Right there, in lovely Berlin.  It’s where all the B Levels–who are still pretending to not be witches and act like they’re regular students–and some of the C, D, E, and F Levels hang out before departing for America.  You may say, “Why not just jaunt them over?” and that’s true:  I could do that.  And I will do that when the kids are no longer pretending not to be witches.  But right now the long con is still on, so let’s pretend they’re going to a school for gifted children, one which isn’t in Upstate New York and has a SR-71 hidden under the basketball court.  No, the school they’re going to doesn’t need a Blackbird:  the kids are dangerous enough on their own.

One of the scenes I’m considering takes place near the Brandenburg Gate, which is one of the more well known sights in the city.  Annie and Kerry will visit it the night of 27 August, which, if you’re score at home, is the anniversary of their meeting in public for the first time.  This is also the day they both arrive in Berlin, so much fun and merriment will occur–or at the least they’ll get out for a quite dinner together.

This means I’m looking at public transportation in the city, preferably using their subway/train system.  If you zoom in on the city, you’ll start picking out stations.  And if you click on those stations . . .

You get a station name!

You get a station name!

But notice something else:  you see colored lines on the map.  Those colored lines are the actual underground routes, and this is a feature that Google Maps does for you in nearly every city.  So if I need a quick and dirty map of the city’s rail system, I find a station way out in the middle of nowhere–

Sorry, Hönow, but it had to be you.

Sorry, Hönow, but it had to be you.

–and once this lights up the routes, you have a quick and dirty map.

Which means I now have an interactive way of seeing what's close to what stations I need for my story.

Which means I now have an interactive way of seeing what’s close to what stations I need for my story.

Also, if you get a pop-up for a station, and you click on “More”, you’ll find the schedule for that station–

Which is most helpful only if you know what you're reading.

Which is most helpful only if you know what you’re reading.

Though you can always go off and look at the website and get that information there.

Wow, how first decade 21st Century this is.

Wow, how first decade 21st Century this is.

But this is a start for something that may end up as a paragraph or two in the scene with them outside the gate.  This is all stuff that ran through my head yesterday, and now you see some of the process I use just to get the background I need for setting up a scene.  It may seem just a little crazy–

But, hey:  that’s how my mind works.

You might even say it takes my breath away . . .

Back At Makassar

Last night was editing of another project, not any of my novels, and playing with time lines–you know, doing that thing that I said I wouldn’t do.  It was a lot of fun, actually, and I’m discovering something about a B Level novel:  there won’t be a lot of talk about classes, because it’s not about classes, it’s about people.  Most of the stuff that ended up in events had to do with personal things and improvements, though I did see where someone goes to the hospital twice in the course of the year–probably off to Bay #1, Bed #2.  And in one instance it’s almost a repeat of another incident that happened to a particular person, and they’re brought in unconscious after same person they collided with before sorta runs into them once more.  Yeah, that’s a thing again.

And there’s this:

Not sure what it means, but it involves being outside the school, that's for certain.

Not sure what it means, but it involves being outside the school, that’s for certain.

You know me and how I love to play with maps, and if given the chance I will.  I usually only do anything with them if it has something to do with the story, so you can rest assured that map above has something to do with another novel.  Keep in mind that it takes time to plot things out in detail, so the likelihood I’m going to start writing a second Annie and Kerry Novel within another week or so is slim.  You’ll have better luck finding Bigfoot riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster.

What I have decided is that as soon as I finish the project I’m doing on the side, I need to get back into editing, because I have a novel I want to push out.  And that novel is Kolor Ijo.

Some people may remember my first self-published story Kuntilanak.  That was the first thing I wrote, and kept writing, and finished writing, and even went so far as to put it up for sale.  It was never meant to be a best seller:  I just wanted to say that I wrote a story, and that people have bought said story.

I was never certain I would ever expand upon the story of Indriani Baskoro and Kadek Bagus Surya Buana:  as it was the original story started out because someone wanted a Halloween story, and I wrote it only to discover later that it was too long for what the person wanted.  I thought those twenty-five thousand words would be enough.

And then NaNoWriMo 2012 came along.

I usually start thinking about what I’m going to write for NaNo about two months before November rolls around, and 2012 was no exception.  Really, the expectation was high for me, because I’d “won” 2011 writing Her Demonic Majesty, and I wanted to prove I could do it again.  And as I needed an idea I thought I’d write a sequel to Kuntilanak, but instead of setting the story back in Bali, I’d go somewhere else in Indonesia.

Like . . . here.

Like . . . here.

There are a lot of places to visit in Indonesia, and they are all so very different.  I moved the setting to another island, changed it up further by creating an urban setting, and started writing Kolor Ijo.  And when I finished–

That was it.  I hadn’t done anything with it in over two years.

I think I need to change that up, and it’s likely I’ll start editing it in a couple of weeks.  It’s not the monster A For Advanced is:  I could fit five Kolor Ijos into that binder.  Which means I should be able to edit it up right.

At least that’s my hope.

Let’s see what comes of this.

Rerouting on the Arrivals

Since it was Monday that meant it was time to edit.  Actually, yesterday was a day of the week ending in a “Y”, so that’s usually an indication that I’m either writing or editing.  But last night it was editing:  first my friend’s novel–of which I have fewer than fifty pages remaining–and then into my own.

I’m a bit surprised that I ended going so much of the work last night.  I started at the point in the story called All About Phee, which is a nickname I have for one of my favorite characters, and finished up with a second pass through Kerry’s Evaluation.  I spent maybe four and a half hours on the edit, and doing a quick add-up of the numbers, I read through maybe fifteen thousand words last night.  Maybe.  It helped the Kerry’s Evaluation was a second pass, because it was pretty clean, meaning I just sort of skimmed over and fixed up the parts that stood out–which weren’t that much.

There's really nothing to it:  you just read and type--differently, mind you.

There’s really nothing to it: you just read and type–differently this time, mind you.

Oh, I also made a map.  Yes, I had to do that, because part of the editing from Sunday, as well as last night, concerned the flight over from Amsterdam.  I once did a map of the flight, but wouldn’t you know it, I never saved that route.  Therefore, I needed to make another.  Only when I made this map, I went for a little more detail . . .

When I say I know where I'm going, I mean that.  See?  They even gave me a little plane to use . . .

When I say I know where I’m going, I mean that. See? They even gave me a little plane as a marker.

By the way, Schiphol is one of the best airports in the world to fly into or out of.  I know:  I’ve been there a couple of times.  First time I was there was during the one and only time I flew around the world . . .

Not a lot ended up changing, except in Annie’s Evaluation.  I found two paragraphs that had to be rewritten because they related to her dreams, because about a hundred thousand words down the line Annie tells the school’s Mistress of Divination a different story about how she eventually ended up on her way to the State of Massachusetts and being enveloped within the welcoming arms of some crazy-ass school adviser who seems to enjoy mentally torture students just to watch them squirm.

But, hey:  she got a room in the tower.  Ain’t that enough?

The main reason I fixed it is since I know what happens just over a week from now in the story–yes, believe it or not, this is happening on a Thursday night, and Annie’s talk with Deanna takes place the following Saturday–it’s easier to fix the front end of the process to match up with the back end.  And as back end’s a far better story, I’ll do a little tinkering at the front, thank you.

I love passing through these scenes and getting things fixed up.  It’s not I think this is the greatest story ever told–though maybe it is–but I’m in love with the set-up, the laying it all in place, and seeing how it all started.  The sections I edited last night I wrote back in the first and second week of November of 2013, and the mind grows hazy over the actual events.  I know the meta part here in the story, but the detail is coming back to me, and bringing the continuity into line–even if it’s just little things that need an adjustment, and nothing huge and plot-holely–is a wonderful thing to watch unfold.

Not to mention talking about Annie’s dreams allows my adviser to get extra snarky with her and twist that knife in just a little deeper.

Oh, I did mention that.  Never mind.